Council tenants in Westminster protest
COUNCIL house tenants and district councillors from East Devon are today (Wednesday) heading for Westminster to address the House of Commons Council Housing Inquiry Group to protest at what they call the Government s daylight robbery . In April 2008
COUNCIL house tenants and district councillors from East Devon are today (Wednesday) heading for Westminster to address the House of Commons Council Housing Inquiry Group to protest at what they call the Government's 'daylight robbery'.
In April 2008 there were 4,298 council properties in the district, all of which achieved the Decent Homes Standard. Through careful housekeeping and investment in housing stock over many years, a great deal has been achieved, but so much more could be done if the large subsidy paid to Government was withdrawn.
The council has in excess of 4,500 households on its Housing Register seeking affordable housing in the district and in 2009/10 it expects to pay �5.8 million of its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) income, which is estimated at �14.5 million, to Government to redistribute to 'less well off' housing authorities. It is understood that the Government is now seeking an overall surplus in this budget and tenants are outraged.
The �5.8 million would fund 97 new affordable homes a year if it was reinvested in East Devon at a grant rate of, for example, �60,000 per home. Provision of more affordable homes is the top priority for EDDC. Its Housing Market Assessment supports the need to provide 1,250 new affordable homes over the next five years to meet identified housing need.
The Housing and Social Inclusion Service of East Devon District Council and the council's tenants would like to opt out of the HRA subsidy system and retain tenants' rental income, as they believe this would give them the freedom to improve services, invest in the housing stock and build new homes for the future.
EDDC's tenants are not going to allow an increase in the subsidy paid from their rents without 'putting up a fight.' On Wednesday they will be asking Government to stop robbing them of much needed housing resources and to let EDDC keep receipts from rents and reinvest these in housing locally, instead of losing 40 per cent of income each year to the subsidy system.